Elon Musk, the omnipotent ruler of the Twitterverse, has chimed in and has decreed that the actual physical universe is "possibly" twice as old as we think it is.
Make of that what you will.
Musk was responding to noted misinformation peddler and comedian Joe Rogan, who linked to a press release about a controversial new paper that indeed suggests the universe could be 26.7 billion years old, almost twice as the general consensus among scientists.
The irreverent tech CEO also chimed in on another topic that's arguably far outside of his wheelhouse, concluding that "dark matter is what seems most sketch to me."
The research Rogan was alluding to suggests that an almost 100-year-old theory by Swiss astronomer Fritz Zwicky about light losing energy over billions of light-years may have been partially correct.
In a recent paper published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, University of Ottawa astronomer Rajendra Gupta took Zwicky's theory and coupled them with existing theories surrounding the expansion of the universe. He also introduced new cosmological constants that could explain the laws that govern particle interactions.
As a result, according to Gupta's calculations, the universe could be much older than generally thought.
Zwicky, as it so happens, was also one of the earliest astrophysicists to suggest the existence of unseen mass he called "dark matter" after coming up with his tired light theory, a hypothetical form of unseen matter that is thought to make up much of the total universe. Dark matter is still generally accepted by the broader scientific community.
While Musk was more open-minded about Gupta's theory, invisible matter that makes up most of the universe was clearly a step too far. Fortunately, the CEO had some well-meaning experts help him clear up his confusion surrounding "sketch" dark matter.
"Hi, I'm a dark matter physicist!" cosmologist Sophia Gad-Nasr chimed in. "We have lots of evidence for dark matter. A big one is the Cosmic Microwave Background, which has dark matter encoded into it."
"It is also necessary to explain the large scale structure we see in the Universe because there needs to be a type of matter that could clump together and form seeds early enough for the galaxies we see today, which regular matter couldn't do because of radiation pressure," she added.
Gad-Nasr called Gupta's eyebrow-raising theory that the universe is actually twice as old "far less plausible" since it "challenges very well-established theories" and would "require a lot of evidence to back it."
In short, we're glad we've got experts like Gad-Nasr are still sticking around on Twitter. Otherwise, we'd risk people actually taking Musk and Rogan by their word — and that's rarely ever a good idea.
But, to be fair, there's still a chance that Musk may end up to be rightfully skeptical. After all, "our current picture of physics is certainly incomplete," as the cosmologist admitted in a follow-up. "That's what makes the field so exciting."
More on the research: Scientist Claims Universe Is Twice as Old as We Thought
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